Feeds

New flexible lens works like the one in your eye - and could replace it

Smaller and simpler focusing and zooming in future cams

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Scientists have created an artificial eye lens out of 800,000 layers of plastic that could revolutionise eye implants and aerial surveillance.

Based on research from 2008 published in journal Optics Express, the new plastic eye closely copies the structure of the human eye and other natural materials including tendons and butterfly wings.

This shows fabricated lens images (a and d) and measured geometry surface profiles (b/c and e/f) of the aspheric anterior and posterior bio-inspired human eye GRIN lenses, credit Optic Express

Polymer lens showing off its capabilities

Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, working with spin-off lab PolymerPlus, created the lens by stacking up layers of laminated plastic. Weighing a tenth of a traditional lens, the polymer version is up to three times more powerful and, crucially, had the capability to be flexible enough to incrementally change its refraction of light.

The new polymer lens can refract light thousands of different ways because each layer has its own refractive index. This multilayer lens design is called gradient refractive index optics, or GRIN optics. That contrasts to traditional lenses that have a single surface and a single refractive index.

This gradated refraction is much more similar to what takes place in the human eye.

The technique that allowed researchers to layer plastic so finely is called multilayer-film coextrusion: a 4,000-layer film is coextruded, and then 200 layers of film are stacked to create an 800,000-nanolayer sheet.

The stacking technique also affords much greater control for engineers over the overall refractive capabilities of the lens.

Michael Ponting, polymer scientist and president of PolymerPlus said they had been inspired by butterflies as well as human eyes:

Applying naturally occurring material architectures, similar to those found in the layers of butterfly wing scales, human tendons, and even in the human eye, to multilayered plastic systems has enabled discoveries and products with enhanced mechanical strength, novel reflective properties, and optics with enhanced power.

Applications of the new lens include lens implants for people with defective or diseased lens and much improved images in areas like aerial surveillance or medical cameras. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.